The Fifth HOPE conference (HOPE stands for Hackers Of Planet Earth) was held this weekend, here in New York and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend 2 of the 3 days. Though I’ve known about this conference for years, this is the first time I have been able to attend.

The panels were enlightening as well as entertaining. Speakers ranged from Steve Wozniak to Jello Biafra to Kevin Mitnick. In addition to the speakers, there were a number of workshops and panel discussions. There were public terminals available to the attenddees and some very cool tee shirts, magazines, and other paraphenalia. A number of organizations were represented, such as Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

All of these people and events were brought together by 2600 Magazine and Emanuel Goldstein (an alias pulled from George Orwell’s 1984). Emmanuel Goldstein should be given much credit (as well as ALL the staff who helped put the conference together. Especially notable was the security staff who were couteous and helpful throughout the 2 days I was there and probably on Friday too).

Speaking of Orwell’s 1984, that was the theme graphically. Large banners portraying big brother were hung in the main halls and smaller posters warned of being watched.

The attendees were uniquely courteous crowd and often I overheard offers of help and questions being answered. I have to admit it made me feel better knowing that there are still so many who value knowledge, exploration, and constitutional rights. My only regret is that I was not able to attend any of the previous conferences.

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